Seeking The Essence

Clearing Life's Webs and Weeds….

Who Set The Standards?

Prabhupada Seated

Below is an excerpt from a room conversation that took place in Vrindavan, India on November 5th, 1976 between Srila Prabhupada, Jagadish prabhu and other teachers from the newly formed Vrindavan gurukula.  I post this because lately there has been talk that the harsh treatment experienced by students was because the teachers were trying to sincerely follow standards set by Srila Prabhupada. Reading this transcript will help clear up this misconception.

From the dialog you’ll see that the gurukula teachers insist that the only suitable punishment for a misbehaving thirteen year old boy is that he be publicly beaten and made an example for all the other students.  Jagadish repeatedly insists this is the only viable solution.  

In this exchange Srila Prabhupada suggests alternatives at least thirteen times, all of which are outright ignored by Jagadish and the others. Three times in the conversation Prabhupada reluctantly acquiesces to their repeated insistence the boy be beaten publicly to make an example of him. Though, you will see each time Prabhupada includes a different recommendation as his preference AND his final words on the matter are to repeat his recommendation to find appropriate, positive engagement for the boy.

I’ve highlighted the relevant parts of the discussion so you can follow it more easily.  As you read through the exchange, you’ll see that it quickly becomes obvious how immature and unprepared these teachers were to properly care for children. 

The boy in question seems to have been “guilty” of exhibiting behaviors fairly typical for a teenage boy (misbehaving, questioning authority and showing interest in girls). For him to be thirteen years old in 1976 the boy was one of oldest gurukulis and most likely one of the first to reach adolescence.  One would think that the school authorities would recognize this as normal part of an individual’s growth and development. Unfortunately, as more gurukula students became teenagers throughout the 70’s and 80’s the discipline methods described in this conversation were frequently utilized.

Here is a link to a website that hosts the entire transcript of the Gurukula Guidelines conversation as well as an audio version, which is available for download. In the full transcript you can read how Prabhupada states it wasn’t necessary to wake children at 3 am or to force them to sit and chant japa for long periods. He also said children should be allowed adequate free time and be fed sumptuous, healthy food. He repeatedly suggests the school’s schedule and spiritual practices be made more age appropriate. Many of the harsher aspects of the ashram were introduced and maintained despite Prabupada’s objections they weren’t necessary. 

I am not so idealistic to think this is simply a case of “if they’d only followed the order of the spiritual master everything would have been perfect.” Things were more complex and dynamic than that. What I am saying is that if the gurukula had been closer to what Srila Prabhupada suggested it still would have been spiritually oriented, disciplined, and austere, AND it would have been a much more pleasant experience for those students engaged in it.

Room Conversation with Srila Prabhupada Vrindavan India, November 5th 1976.

 

 

Jagadisa: We have one question about one of the boys. His name is (name withheld), and he’s a… He’s more or less a bad boy. He’s had a bad background. His mother’s a devotee and she’s a nice devotee, but he’s very… He terrorizes other boys.

Prabhupada: Accha?

Jagadisa: He misleads them. He lies.

Prabhupada: How old he is?

Jagadisa: He’s thirteen.

Prabhupada: So he cannot be… He must go back. We cannot spoil other children. (alternate suggestion #1)

Rupa-vilasa: They are being spoiled by him.

Jagadisa: I was thinking, to make an example of him, either we should beat him or send him back. (public beating insistence #1

Prabhupada: Best thing will be send him back. He’s incorrigible. (alternate suggestion #2)

Yasodanandana: Personally I had that boy with me for two months when I went to South India, preaching, and I thought it would be an asset to have a young boy, but he was so misbehaved that it was too much problem. And the same things that he was doing, in the beginning with me, telling lies and misbehaving, he is still doing now and he does not correct himself never. He has no effort to better his behavior or his conduct. He does not chant his rounds. He rarely comes to the kirtana, or else when he comes to the kirtana, he does not chant. He simply plays and makes fun. And it’s very… He has a very bad influence on the other boys.

Prabhupada: No, then he should be sent back. Or he can be sent to Bombay to work ordinarily. Or Hyderabad farm. Like that. Let him work on the ground. (alternate suggestion #3, #4 & #5)

Yasodanandana: He speaks Bengali. That boy was in Bengal before and he picked up Bengali.

Prabhupada: So he can go. (alternate suggestion #6)

Pradyumna: He’s very intelligent, but he’s just had a bad…

Prabhupada: So he was in Mayapura?

Yasodanandana: Yes, he was in Mayapura before. He knows Bengali. He can speak Bengali.

Prabhupada: So he can go with the Mayapura preaching party as well(alternate suggestion #7)

Yasodanandana: We could send him with Bhavananda Maharaja.Prabhupada: Yes, that will be nice. He knows Bengali. Let him go to Bengal and keep him under Bhavananda.

Jagadisa: I think that he’ll be a problem wherever he goes.

Prabhupada: No, Bhavananda will correct his problem. (alternate suggestion #8)

Jagadisa: I think Bhavananda won’t want to take him because he knows he’s a problem.

Rupa-vilasa: Bhavananda told me he did not want to see that boy again.

Prabhupada: Eh?

Rupa-vilasa: Bhavananda told me he did not want to see that boy again.

Pradyumna: In Mayapura he had some girl…

Jagadisa: In my opinion, the best thing is to make an example and beat him. (public beating insistence #2)

Prabhupada: Yes, send him to farm, work in the field. If he does not work, beat him. Murkhasya laktausadhih. [“The medicine for a fool is a stick.”) (alternate suggestion #9 and acquiescence #1)

(Hindi portion of conversation with Bhagatji, with translation by Bhakti Vikas Swami)

Bhagatji: Ek baat yaad aa gayi. [Something I recall.]

Prabhupada: Eh?

Bhagatji: Pehle log jo hai, pehle jo kuch crime karte the, to phasi ya kala-pani me singapore ki taraf malay bhej dete the. Aap unko Hyderbad bhej rahe hai. [Previously, criminal were hanged or exiled by being sent to kala-pani (nickname of a prison in the Andamans) in Malaya, in the direction of Singapore. You are sending them to Hyderbad.]

Prabhupada: Ha! Hyderbad bhejo, usko kaam karao. Usko matti khodne ka kaam do; nahi kare to usko pito, aise kiya jaaye. [Yes. Send him to (the ISKCON farm at) Hyderabad, make him work. Give him digging work. If he refuses, beat him, that is the way to do it.] (alternate suggestion #10, acquiescence #2)

Yasodanandana: He was just in Hyderabad for that ceremony there, and he caused such disruption in the whole temple that I don’t think they’d want him there.

Jagadisa: The thing is, if we beat him here and keep him here, then all the boys will straighten up because they will see that if they go bad, then this will be their punishment.  (public beating insistence #3)

Prabhupada: As you think, you can do. But I wanted to engage in farm work, in digging. (alternate suggestion #11 and acquiescence #3)

Yasodanandana: Yes, that is his propensity. Actually it’s a fact when he was with me I would try to teach him Isopanisad and your purports, which are so clear and simple, but after three or four times explaining the same thing, he would become angry to receive the instruction.

Prabhupada: No, no. He is meant for sudra’s work.

Yasodanandana: And when that boy would be told to watch himself… 

Prabhupada: You cannot expect that everyone is brahmana. No. He has got sudra mentality, so let him till the ground for Krsna. Svakarmana tam abhyarcya. He is fit for tilling so let him till and produce grain for Krsna. (alternate suggestion #12)

Jagadisa: Hyderabad?

Prabhupada: Yes. Hard work. He should be given hard work. This gurukula is for high, high class brahmana, ksatriyas, not for the vaisyas and sudras. (man laughs in background) No, everyone is required for Krsna’s service, but there… That I was describing today. There must be division. Don’t put horse before a cart. (alternate suggestion #13 AND Prabhupada’s final word on the issue.)

Pradyumna: Race horse before the cart.

Prabhupada: Eh?

Pradyumna: Race horse before the…

Prabhupada: Yes, that will not be nice.   

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September 6, 2006 - Posted by | Gurukula, Gurukuli, Hare Krishna, ISKCON, Jagadish, Prabhupada

16 Comments »

  1. Greetings Chaits. Interesting to see your blog – really a gurukuli blog – and all the resources you have collected, and well as your writings and commentary. The WordPress engine seems very well-suited to what you are doing.

    I want to address a point you have made in regard to this Srila Prabhupada conversation. You wrote, “Only after suggesting at least five alternatives, all of which are rejected by Jagadish and the others, does Prabhupada finally agree that the boy can be beaten.” I’m a bit concerned at how you have put this, since you are saying that Srila Prabhupada agreed that the boy could be beaten. My reading of the conversation is a bit different.

    My understanding is that Srila Prabhupada was required to delegate responsibility. We all know this. There were many gurukulas, many temples, special departments such as education, art, BBT, and so on. Meanwhile, Srila Prabhupada had to focus on translating, troubleshooting, training sannyasis, giving initiations, and more. So he had no choice but to delegate, and he just had to delegate to the best people he had. Once he had delegated, he could give guidance when necessary, but I’m sure you are familiar with the principle of telling people what to do, not how to do it.

    Now in this situation, his lead man, the Minister of Education, is making strong arguments for beating the boy. For example, he’s talking about making an example of the boy, and then all the other boys will see what happens if they are not obedient. Now Srila Prabhupada cannot just say no. That is a violation. It is both a philosophical violation, since Jagadish has made a philosophical argument, as well as being a delegation violation, since Jagadish has been made Minister of Education.

    Srila Prabhupada actually answers perfectly with a two-part answer. First, out of respect for his Minister of Education, the person he has delegated to, he says that Jagadish can do as he thinks. But immediately in the next sentence, he also answers the philosophical argument with his own philosophy, giving an alternative solution, namely that the boy should be engaged in physical work rather than being beaten. So Srila Prabhupada’s objection to the beating definitely still stands. He says, “As you think, you can do. But I wanted to engage in farm work, in digging.”

    I’m sure you understand that really capable people will not accept just a “No.” There must be a reason. If I have an idea and it is just rejected without giving any reason, that’s it – you’ll have to find someone else. That’s the principle. So bearing this in mind, I would say that Srila Prabhupada actually answered in a very diplomatic way that saved the situation. Not only did he keep his Minister of Education, but he also made it clear that he objected to any beating and that he thought other alternatives should be pursued.

    The people that use this conversation to justify beatings are twisting Srila Prabhupada’s words to suit their own purposes. They gave so many beatings; so they must justify them somehow. Of course, they must ignore the statements Srila Prabhupada has made that absolutely forbid beatings. The actual situation in this conversation is that the foremost people responsible for gurukula were all pushing for Srila Prabhupada to approve beating, but he was actually doing his best to restrain them without being disrespectful. The actual situation is that Srila Prabhupada did not want them beating the boy, and its really very clear. That’s why Srila Prabhupada is making alternate suggestion after alternate suggestion. If worst comes to worst, the boy can be sent home, which was the very first alternate suggestion that Srila Prabhupada made. And when he has made so many alternate suggestions, there is no excuse whatsoever for giving beatings.

    Comment by Aniruddha d.B. Sherbow | September 10, 2006 | Reply

  2. Aniruddha,

    Thanks for commenting. I am really glad to hear from you!

    My main purpose for putting together this blog is to gather information about gurukuli related issues and present them in a balanced and informative manner.  Eventually it may evolve into something more.  For now I’m open to seeing how it progresses.

    I fully agree with your concluding paragraph. Prabhupada did not want the school authorities to beat the boy. Prabhupada clearly said so several times.  They had an agenda they were pushing and eventually Prabhupada said to them “As you think, you can do.” Even after it seems he acquiesced to their position he qualified this statement by repeating what he thought should be done, “But I wanted to engage in farm work, in digging.”

    We do have to acknowledge that Prabhupada said, “If he does not work, beat him.” To be completely clear that he did not want to advocate the beating of the child he could have been more direct and said something like, “Do not beat this child.” or, “Show the stick, but do not use it.” as he did in other circumstances. This would have made it much more clear that they would go against his wishes if they chose to beat the boy. 

    I also agree with your concern.  In my original posting I think it would have been more accurate if I used the word “reluctantly” rather than “finally” in the following sentence, “Only after suggesting at least five alternatives, all of which are rejected by Jagadish and the others, does Prabhupada RELUCTANTLY agree that the boy can be beaten.”

    Please continue to share your perspective on the different topics raised on STE. Add some of your own if you like.  It’s good to hear your POV.

    Comment by chaitanyamangala | September 11, 2006 | Reply

  3. It’s good to hear your welcoming words, Chaits. So you said that your aim is to “gather information about gurukuli issues and try to present them in a balanced and informative manner.” Since no one else is doing this (to be sure), this seems like a valuable contribution. Then you say, “Eventually it may evolve into something else.” This begs the question of what you think it may evolve into. Would you care to say more? (If I may be so bold, this might be worth opening another thread for, since it is probably good food for discussion in and of itself (and this thread already has a very deep and weighty topic to claim for itself.)) However, if explicitly explaining this seems like it would have an undesirable squelching effect upon natural development, I will understand it if you pass on an explicit explanation.

    Now onto the main topic of whether Srila Prabhupada has approved of beatings in this conversation. Actually, I’m sure it won’t surprise you to hear, I can’t leave it there (and I doubt you are very eager to leave it there yourself). Now it would be possible to head into a somewhat complex philosophical refutation at this point. However, before I expend a bunch of effort on such a refutation, it just so happens that I checked out the audio recording which was available at that link to the full article that you included; and, surprise! surprise! there is an major discrepancy present. The audio is significantly different from the transcript that we have, which means we should first establish what the true conversation was. Importantly, the audio that I heard includes neither of the statements where Srila Prabhupada appears to be agreeing to the beatings. I listened to the audio a number of times to to get an accurate transcript of the conversation, and the significant missing section is as I show below:

    Jagadisa: I was thinking, to make an example of him, either we should beat him or send him back.
    Prabhupada: Best thing will be send him back. He’s incorrigible.
    Yasodanandana: Personally I had that boy with me for two months when I went to South India, preaching, and I thought it would be an asset to have a young boy, but he was so misbehaved that it was too much problem. And the same things that he was doing, in the beginning with me, telling lies and misbehaving, he is still doing now and he does not correct himself never. He has no effort to better his behavior or his conduct. He does not chant his rounds. He rarely comes to the kirtana, or else when he comes to the kirtana, he does not chant. He simply plays and makes fun. And it’s very… He has a very bad influence on the other boys.
    Prabhupada: No, then he should be sent back. Or he can be sent to Bombay to work ordinarily. Or Hyderabad farm. Like that. [ALL MISSING FROM HERE UNTIL POINT MARKED BELOW] Let him work on the ground.
    Yasodanandana: He speaks Bengali. That boy was in Bengal before and he picked up
    Bengali.Prabhupada: So he can go.
    Pradyumna: He’s very intelligent, but he’s just had a bad…
    Prabhupada: So he was in Mayapura?
    Yasodanandana: Yes, he was in Mayapura before. He knows Bengali. He can speak Bengali.Prabhupada: So he can go with the Mayapura preaching party as well.
    Yasodanandana: We could send him with Bhavananda Maharaja.Prabhupada: Yes, that will be nice. He knows Bengali. Let him go to Bengal and keep him under Bhavananda.
    Jagadisa: I think that he’ll be a problem wherever he goes.
    Prabhupada: No, Bhavananda will correct his problem.
    Jagadisa: I think Bhavananda won’t want to take him because he knows he’s a problem.
    Rupa-vilasa: Bhavananda told me he did not want to see that boy again.
    Prabhupada: Eh?
    Rupa-vilasa: Bhavananda told me he did not want to see that boy again.
    Pradyumna: In Mayapura he had some girl…
    Jagadisa: In my opinion, the best thing is to make an example and beat him.
    Prabhupada: Yes, send him to farm, work in the field. ***If he does not work, beat him.*** Murkhasya laktausadhih. (?)(Hindi conversation)
    Yasodanandana: He was just in Hyderabad for that ceremony there, and he caused such disruption in the whole temple that I don’t think they’d want him there.
    Jagadisa: The thing is, ***if we beat him here*** and keep him here, then all the boys will straighten up because they will see that if they go bad, then this will be their punishment.
    Prabhupada: [CONVERSATION SMOOTHLY LINKED TO ABOVE POINT] As you think, you can do. But I wanted to engage in farm work, in digging.
    Yasodanandana: Yes, that is his propensity. Actually it’s a fact when he was with me I would try to teach him Isopanisad and your purports, which are so clear and simple, but after three or four times explaining the same thing, he would become angry to receive the instruction.

    So we have a puzzle to solve here. The readers may feel free to have a listen to the conversation themselves to verify what I have said (and to save you some listening time, the relevant section is located around the last eighth of the download). In addition, just to double check, I have listened to the audio that is available at prabhupadavani.org, and that is also the same (with the relevant section more around the middle). Obviously, it’s pointless to go on with this discussion until we have established the facts. The two statements that appear to justify beating, which I have put in stars above, are both within the missing section. If this section really is missing from the original tape, there is no justification for beating the kids whatsoever in this conversation!

    We should take immediate action to resolve this question, as it is of the utmost importance. I thought to just email the Bhaktivedanta Archives in North Carolina to ask them to have a listen to the original and get us the answer. But, to be honest, I’m not feeling very trusting right at this moment. I think what we need to do is get a capable and trustworthy gurukuli or parent of a gurukuli physically over to the archives to have a listen to this tape and to get us a definitive answer. The archival identification for this conversation is “97-230-A Vrndavana November 5, 1976 Conversation.” And don’t tell the archival people what we’re checking; just tell them you need to check something important. I hate to mention it, but we may also need to slip the archives person a $20 “donation” or something. I’d really like to do this myself, but I am about as far away from North Carolina as one can get. Is there someone reading this who is in the vicinity of North Carolina by any chance, and who feels capable to resolve this important question? Or Chaits? Maybe you know someone who’s over there and is capable? Let’s listen to the original recording and get to the bottom of this.

    Just to finish off now, I see there are a number of other interesting topics I should probably comment on. I’ll get to them as soon as I have a chance.

    As for adding some of my own topics, I have at least one right off the bat that should certainly be interesting and is sure to provoke some feedback. Chaits, I believe you will have to make me a user to do that. I do have the required WordPress account (which I’ve just never used), and my email address is aniruddha at [removed by Chaits] (and I have temporarily altered my permissions to allow the WordPress email through). As for the User Level, “Contributor” allows me to post, but the posts must be approved by you before going to the front page. “Author” level allows me to post directly. And “Editor” level gives many other powers. Obviously, the level thing is up to you. There’s full details on this is the WordPress FAQ.

    I’ll leave it there for the moment. Nothing like a good mystery to get the blood flowing, is there now?

    Comment by Aniruddha d.B. Sherbow | September 11, 2006 | Reply

  4. Well, either everyone is just very fast asleep and doesn’t appreciate being woken up, or hardly anyone reads this blog. It’s kind of hard to tell. At any rate, the readers needn’t bother worrying about checking out the whole conversation discrepancy thing: I’ll just check on it myself.

    And Chaits, don’t worry about adding me on as a User or whatever: since it’s really your blog, it probably makes more sense to have all the actual posts emanating from yourself. I can participate through submitting comments, depending on the amount of time I have available (and if I have my own posts, I could, of course, actually start using my own blog). (I also see that the comment sidebar has just been added, in the time since my last post, making it easier to see when new comments have been posted.)

    Also, I hope that my suggestion – that a dedicated thread be opened to discuss how the blog might evolve – was not out of place. Since you had mentioned the subject of how the blog might evolve, it did seem to me to be the sort of subject that might bring forth quite an interesting discussion all on its own. But I’m sure you already know what threads you are interested in opening, without needing any prompting from myself; so I’d like to retract that suggestion.

    Comment by Aniruddha d.B. Sherbow | September 12, 2006 | Reply

  5. Aniruddha,

    My guess is that only a few people are reading this blog. I started it a few weeks ago and it’s just building some momentum. I think about 75 people visit it each day.

    I’m not sure what the future holds for this blog. Right now I’m motivated to provide a place where people can come and read through gurukuli related topics. I’m trying to personalize things. Give a face to what has become depersonalized.

    Your suggestions are appreciated. I’m still learning how to use Word Press. I’ll figure out if there’s a way to make a new thread, or I may end up making a new post.

    Just so you know, it may take me a few days to reply. I’ve been traveling a bit lately and it’s made it more challenging to post regularly. Hopefully I’ll get back to a more regular schedule soon.

    I look forward to hearing your discovery on any discrepency in the transcripts and recordings.

    Comment by chaitanyamangala | September 12, 2006 | Reply

  6. Chaits,

    First you say only a few people are reading the blog, and then give the daily number as approximately 75?! That’s many more than a few. I’d actually characterize that as a fairly healthy readership (especially as you’ve only been around a few weeks).

    If you’re motivated to do this, that’s good enough for me. One thing is for sure: as both you and I well know, the materials you are presenting here are not present anywhere else in this unified fashion.

    Your next statement is very interesting: you say you are trying to personalize “what has become depersonalized.” I have come to know that people never make such statements without them being based on actual incidents, or specific phenomena. Another fact is that people often prefer to describe such specifics without naming the specific persons or events involved. Perhaps, Chaits, you could describe the specific behaviors or incidents or phenomena that struck you as “depersonalized,” without being specific with the names.

    As you are doubtless vaguely aware, Lord Krsna abducted me away to perform severe austerities several years ago, and I am therefore a bit out of touch with some of the recent developments in the gurukuli scene. But if the recent developments include such things as becoming “depersonalized,” that would strike me as a very undesireable development, and a cause for serious concern. In fact, that would strike me as “headed in the wrong direction.” But let us hear the specifics before I say anything more.

    As for opening a new thread for this discussion, I was using “post” and “thread” interchangeably. You know, each post acts as a new thread because it can give birth to a new thread of comments. But perhaps there is no real need for a new post as we seem to be doing well enough right here. I can update with details on the discepancy thing as they become available to me.

    By the way, I must make a quick correction to one of my previous comments. One of the sites with the audio of the discepancy was prabhupadavani.org, rather than prabhupadavani.com. This is also the site that has a much easier to access audio-playing program. So readers can check that out if they want. The conversation is number 79 on their first conversations page.

    If you get a chance, Chaits, perhaps you could correct that detail in comment #3 above. (You should be able to edit it from the Manage page on your dashboard, and then the comments tab.) If you would be so kind, perhaps you could also remove my email address from the bottom paragraph of the same comment (just put “hidden” or something). I’d do it myself, but I can’t; and even though no emails can get through to me anyway, I’d rather not have it be publicized. When I had a User Level, I planned to remove it myself, but we cancelled all that.

    As for your travelling, Chaits, I know how it is. I’m actually rather busy myself, so it may also take a few days for me to reply as well.

    Finally, with regard to the ongoing investigation into why the most significant section of the audio is missing, I have a dedicated team of undercover operatives infiltrating the Bhaktivedanta Archives even as we speak. I have codenamed this project “Operation Amarka,” after one of the abusive tutors of Prahlada. I will update everyone as more information becomes available.

    Comment by Aniruddha d.B. Sherbow | September 14, 2006 | Reply

  7. Aniruddha,

    I made the corrections you requested.

    I like your description of the operation and code name for the project. Quite funny and appropriate!

    When I said that only a few are reading my blog I meant that this is a relatively small number.  As you have noticed not many are making comments, most are silent observers.  I’m hoping to figure out a way that people can also make private comments.  I’m not sure how to add that feature yet (if it’s even available).

    As far as specifics: If you have been following the “ongoing debates” on the Dandavats website you’ll see that the rhetoric has increased recently (and on Chakra too, for that matter). One of the main ways people “demonize” each other is by “depersonalizing” the other. The further apart they go, the easier it becomes. I’ve been asking people to take a breath and see if there are more postive ways to expend their energy on these issues.

    For those of you who might not be familiar with the debates I’m referring to, please follow the link below:

    http://www.dandavats.com/?cat=19

    Comment by chaitanyamangala | September 14, 2006 | Reply

  8. You could select the “Moderate Comments” option, then if someone wanted to make aprivate comment, they could designate it as such. Make for a lot of work though, and how to let people know they could do it would be an issue.

    Comment by Madhava Gosh | September 14, 2006 | Reply

  9. Chaits,

    Appreciate the helpful corrections. And thanks for your kind comments about my investigative story: I do try.

    When you said you had noticed a “depersonalized” trend, I thought you meant amongst the gurukulis, rather than what has been going on in the devotee forums.

    What I have personally noticed about the forums discussion is that Chakra had completely thrown out their policy of allowing just a few responses, and seemed to be posting tons of stuff. Then, Dandavats opened up, and it’s beginning to seem to me that it opened up specifically to take control of the discussion. So the discussion travelled to Dandavats, and then they pulled this move where they moved all the posts on this subject to the back page, which seems to have had the effect of killing the discussion. So Chakra is now dead, and Dandavats has relegated the abuse subject to a backroom discussion, accessed by a tiny link in a large list. So this seems like another case of minimizing the abuse issue, trying to hide it away, and relegating it to a status of lesser importance.

    Moving onto how to get private comments, I have one suggestion. I’m not sure if you are aware, but you can add extra text widgets on the widget page – down toward the bottom there is a box for that. So you could title it “Private Comments,” and put your email address in it.

    Finally, I would like to update everyone on the progress in Operation Amarka. My team of dedicated operatives successfully infiltrated the Bhaktivedanta Archives just days ago. However, when they went to the spot where the original tape was supposed to be, what they found was a digital audio tape with the words “Digitally Remastered Edition.” We are assuming that this tape is a result of the recent efforts to preserve all of Srila Prabhupada’s recordings by getting them on to digital media. But, unfortunately, due to it’s being “Digitally Remastered,” there is a very real possibility that the recording may have been altered during the remastering process. Furthermore, although the digital tapes are used for making new recordings, the original tapes are normally stored right next to the digital versions. However, for unknown reasons, the original of this particular conversation is missing, and instead there was a sticker that said simply “Special Holdings.” I assume that Special Holdings must be where politically sensitive materials are specially guarded. Unfortunately, no one knows the exact location of the the Special Holdings room, although we did gain some useful information from one gurukuli in the area who was working at the archives part-time last summer. She informed us that she believes there are some secret rooms underneath the archives building, and that what we are looking for may possibly be found in one of those rooms. So my dedicated undercover operatives are seeking to gain access to these underground rooms even as we speak, and I will update everyone as more information becomes available.

    Comment by Aniruddha d.B. Sherbow | September 19, 2006 | Reply

  10. Aniruddha,

    I agree that recently Chakra went overboard and posted anything and everything that was submitted in relation to gurukuli issues. Objectivity seemed to go out the window for a while. I think the point the moderators were trying to make was that there was a ground swell of responses all essentially saying that these unresolved issues need to be addressed.

    Dandavats was started as a more official and authorized communications tool for ISKCON (the institution). I don’t think they expected the discussion to take center stage at the site. The decision by the moderators to move the gurukuli related issues to a subcategory on the side bar effectively killed any discussion on Dandavats.

    For Operation Amarka I suppose we’ll have to make due with the most reliable version that is still available and hope that there hasn’t been any significant alteration to the recording.

    I’m going to look into adding a “Private Comments” widget. Thanks for the suggestion.

    Comment by chaitanyamangala | September 19, 2006 | Reply

  11. Chaits,

    Just to clarify, I think the groundswell of responses on Chakra was primarily responsible for something finally happening (although I certainly did not agree with many of the anti-gurukuli position responses). My complaint is that Chakra seems to have a policy of shutting down all other discussions, or severely limiting them, and I do indeed find that objectionable. So just wanted to clarify that.

    As far as Dandavats’ opening, it did seem to me to be no accident. Maybe there was no ulterior motive, but I would bet that they wished to seize control of the discussion, and that is indeed what they did.

    Comment by Aniruddha d.B. Sherbow | September 21, 2006 | Reply

  12. Aniruddha,

    Thanks for the clarification.

    Comment by chaitanyamangala | September 21, 2006 | Reply

  13. […] This article ties in with my previous posting “Who Set the Standards?” […]

    Pingback by Children of the Ashram « Seeking The Essence | September 23, 2006 | Reply

  14. I have an update on my investigation into the accuracy of the Gurukula Guidelines conversation. It looks like I’m going to have to do that somewhat in-depth philosophical rebuttal I was thinking might not be necessary. I have listened to the audio of the conversation some more, and it appears that other sections are also missing, corresponding to points where there was some Hindi conversation, and to points where the transcript says “name withheld” (in reference to the boy they are talking about beating). So since the conversation in the transcript seems pretty authentic, I’m going to assume that the transcript is accurate. I would have liked to hear Srila Prabhupada’s intonation and so on when talking about any beatings, but I suppose I will have to do without it. Anyways, I’ll be working on that rebuttal when I have time, and I’ll post it up when I’m done.

    Comment by Aniruddha d.B. Sherbow | September 26, 2006 | Reply

  15. Hare Krsna Prabhu

    Rupanuga Prabhu is tyring to get in touch with your father Pradyumna. If you have an email or regular mailing address that would be helpful – Palaka das 240-472-1843

    Comment by Palaka das | January 28, 2009 | Reply

  16. Palaka das my email is PML1356@aol.com

    Comment by Palaka das | January 28, 2009 | Reply


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